There are many varieties of turnip, each one rich in beneficial properties. Let’s find out more about them and how to cook these vegetables in a healthy way.
Turnip, which scientific name is Brassica rapa L., belongs to the Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae) family, the same as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, horseradish and radish.
There are different types of turnip, from white to red. Each variety other than being very tasty, is full of beneficial properties. Let’s learn something more about all the types of turnip, what health benefits they have and how to cook them.
Types of turnip
First of all, you should know that what we call turnip and we eat is the root of the plant. It is harvested when it reaches the size of a tennis ball. The most common varieties are:
– white turnip, with white skin, sometimes purple-striped. Its shape varies and its pulp is white and crispy;
– red turnip, round and with a red colour tending to purple;
– celeriac, roundish, lumpy and irregular, with brown skin and white flesh. Its flavour is similar to celery and fennel;
– turnip greens, also called broccoli or, in Italian, friarelli. Of this vegetable, you eat the inner leaves and the inflorescences in bud;
– kohlrabi, round shaped, with white, green, or violet skin, it has a very fleshy pulp.
Each type of turnip has its own properties. Red turnips are rich in vitamins A, C, B, folic acid and iron. It is recommended in case of weakness, anemia and to pregnant women. In addition, they are rich in fiber and water, so they are excellent to detoxify your body and fight constipation. They calorie level is low, making them suitable for people on a diet.
White turnips have a high detox power because they contain sulfur and phytonutrients to help eliminating toxins. Thanks to their vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese and beta-Carotene levels, they have antioxidant properties. Finally, they contain vitamin K and omega-3, which are natural anti-inflammatory substances.
Turnip greens are rich in vitamins (A, C, E, K) and minerals (phosphorus, calcium, iron). Therefore, they are useful in case of anemia, and in periods of high stress. They also contain plant proteins and folic acid, which are excellent during pregnancy.
Celeriac is rich in vitamins (A, B and C) and minerals (potassium, iron, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, sodium and magnesium). It has antioxidant, depurative, and diuretic properties and helps lowering the blood pressure.
Kohlrabi is a source of vitamin C, beta-Carotene, folic acid, calcium and phosphorus. It has a low calorie content and is rich in water. It is excellent for low-calorie diets.
As for all the vegetables, turnips should be eaten raw or lightly cooked to keep its nutrients and vitamins untouched. You can eat it raw with an olive oil dip, steamed or boiled and then seasoned with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little salt.
Another very simple and tasty way to cook turnips is au gratin. Clean and slice your turnips, then put them in a pan with 250 ml of milk, a couple of bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Once cooked, put the vegetables on an oven pan, pour a little of previous cooking sauce on them, then add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and some butter. Bake it for about a quarter of an hour at 200 degrees.
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